SAN DIEGO — Saturday’s storyline started two years ago for the University of New Mexico baseball team.
The Lobos couldn’t get pitcher Garrett Hill in a recruiting battle in 2016 and UNM’s hitters couldn’t get to the right-hander in a 3-2 road loss to No. 23 San Diego State at Tony Gwynn Stadium on Saturday. Hill (6-0) allowed just one run and three hits in 8⅓ innings, striking out seven as the Aztecs (18-9, 7-4 Mountain West) salvaged the final game of a three-game series.
“(Hill) pitched really well,” Lobos coach Ray Birmingham said in a postgame phone interview. “He commanded three pitches and really gave us trouble with his changeup. We lost a recruiting battle for that kid two years ago, so I guess we kind of lost this one a long time ago.”
UNM’s only run charged to Hill scored after he left the game. Jared Mang smashed a two-run homer off reliever Jorge Fernandez to get the Lobos (12-13-1, 6-6) to within a run with one out in the ninth.
But Fernandez retired Connor Mang on a fly ball and struck out pinch-hitter Jeff Deimling to end the game.
New Mexico starter Cody Dye (2-4) could not match Hill’s performance, allowing three runs on five hits with three walks in 4⅓ innings. Relievers Chad Smith and Drew Gillespie held SDSU scoreless the rest of the way, but UNM’s offense could not break through against Hill.